Chapter 2 Government

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Representative Assembly

A legislature composed of individuals who represent the population

Natural Rights

Rights held to be inherent in natural law, not dependent on governments. John Locke stated that natural law, being superior to human law, specifies certain rights of "life, liberty,property." These rights, altered to become "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," are asserted in the Declaration of Independence.

Social Contract

A voluntary agreement among individuals to secure their rights and welfare by creating a gov. and abiding by its rules

Unicameral Legislature

A legislature with only one legislative chamber, as opposed to a bicameral (2 chamber) legislature, such as the U.S. Congress. Today, Nebraska is the only state in the Union with a unicameral legislature.


A political system in which states or regional governments retain ultimate authority except for those powers they expressly delegate to the central gov.; a voluntary association of independent states, in which the member states agree to limited restraints on their freedom of action


A group of people occupying a specific area and organized under one gov.; may be either a nation or a subunit of a nation.

Bicameral Legislature

A legislature made up of two parts, called chambers. The U.S> Congress, composed of the House of Rep. and the Senate is a bicameral legislature

Supremacy Doctrine

A doctrine that asserts the priority of national law over state laws. This principle is rooted in Article VI of the Constitution, which provides that the Constitution, the laws passed by the natl. gov. under its constitutional powers, and all treaties constitute the supreme law of the land

Great Compromise

The compromise between the New Jersey and Virgina Plans that created 1 chamber of the Congress based on population and 1 chamber representing each state equally; also called the Connecticut Compromise

Separation of Powers

The principle of dividing the governmental powers among different branches of government

Madisonian Model

A structure of gov. proposed by James Madison in which the powers of the gov. are separated into 3 branches: executive, legislative, and judicial

Checks and Balances

A major principle of the American system of gov. whereby each branch of the gov. can check the actions of the others

Electoral College

A group of persons called electors selected by the voters in each state and the D.C.; this group officially elects the president and the vice president of the United States. The number of electors in each state is equal to the number of each state’s representatives in both chambers of Congress. The 23rd amendment to Constitution grants D.C. as many electors as the state with smallest population

Federal System

A system of gov. in which power is divided between a central gov. and regional, or subdivisional, gov. Each level must have some domain in which its policies are dominant and some genuine political or constitutional guarantee of its authority


Formal approval


The name give to one who was in favor of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and the creation of a fed, union with a strong central gov.


An individual who opposed the ratification of the new Constitution in 1787. The Anti-Federalists were opposed to a strong central government

Executive Agreement

An international agreement between chiefs of state that does not require the legislative approval

Judicial Review

The power of the S.C. and other courts to declare unconstitutional fed. or state laws and other acts of government.

Executive Order

A rule or regulation issued by the president that has the effect of law. Executive orders can implement and give administrative effect to provisions in the U.S. Constitution, treaties, or statues

The Jamestown colonists set a political precedent by

instituting a representative assembly

The major historical and political significance of the Mayflower Compact was that it

served as prototype for many similar compacts and depended on the consent of the individuals involved

During the colonial period, all of the following developments too place except

Louisiana was established last of the colonies

Taxes were imposed on the colonists to

pay for the cost of Britain’s defense of the colonies during the French and Indian War

Taxes that the British attempted to impose in the years leading up to the Revolution included all of the following except

an income tax

The colonists’ fury over taxation climaxed in

the Boston Tea Party

The 1st Continental Congress

asked the colonies to boycott British trade and raise troops

One of the main actions of the Second Continental Congress was

to establish an army and appoint a commander in chief

Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense advocated

the idea that a government of our own is our natural right

The first draft of the Declaration of Independence was written by

Thomas Jefferson

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal" are the first words of the

the Declaration of Independence

A voluntary agreement among individuals to secure their rights and welfare by creating a government and abiding by its rules is called

A social contract

The inalienable rights stipulated in the Declaration of Independence included the right

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Which of the following is not rue of the Dec. of Independence?

A constitutional government was set up

The term confederation refers to

a voluntary association in which states have most of the power

Which of the following was NOT true of the Articles of Confederation

The president was chosen by Congress

Which of the following was a weakness of the Articles of Confederation?

1. Congress lacked the power to collect taxes directly from the people 2. There was no executive branch 3. Congress lacked the power to coin money 4. Each state had one vote regardless of size

The Constitutional Convention in 1787 was brought on by the

Failure of the Articles of Confederation

At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia

there were different views among the delegates about the powers that should be given to the national government

The Virginia Plan

called for a bicameral legislature

The New Jersey Plan called for all of the following EXCEPT

the creation of a new and very powerful central government

The supremacy doctrine asserts the superiority of

national law over state law

under the supremacy clause of the Constitution

local, state and federal laws cannot conflict with the Constitution

The Great Compromise

proposed a bicameral legislature with equal representation in the Senate

The three-fifths compromise did all of the following except

give African Americans representation that was equal to what free whites received

All of the following were compromises in the Constitution EXCEPT that

Slavery was outlawed

The U.S.A. is among the few countries that do not tax their exports because

the South obtained a promise that export taxes would not be imposed

The concept of separation of powers was included in the Constitution to prevent

tyranny either of the majority or the minority

Which of the following is NOT correct under the concept of separation of powers?

Congress has the right to interpret the law

The concept of checks and balances allows

each branch of the gov. to be able to check the actions of others

the group that actually elects the president of the U.S. is called

the Electoral College

the Constitution that was to be ratified established the following fundamental principles EXCEPT

Presidential infallibility

Compared to the Articles of Confederation, the federal gov. under the Constitution is


Ratification of the Constitution was to occur by

Approval of 9 out of the 13 legislatures

the Federalists advocated

the ratification of the new Constitution

The Anti-Federalists advocated

the status quo

The Bill of Rights was important for the ratification of the Constitution because

some states would not have voted to ratify the Constitution without the promise of the Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights provided for

The protection of individual liberties from the national government

The Bill of Rights is an example of the way in which government power is


A constitutional amendment can be proposed by

A 2/3 vote in each chamber of Congress and national convention called by Congress at the request of 2/3 of the state legislatures

A constitutional amendment can be ratified by

a positive vote in coventions in 3/4 of the states and a positive vote in the legislatures of 3/4 the states

Which groups are involved in proposing and ratifying amendments to the Constitution

The Senate, The House of Representatives, and the States

The only method used so far to propose an amendment to the Constitution is

a 2/3 vote in favor of it by both houses of the Congress

Judicial review is

the ability of the courts to declare acts of the legislative and executive branches of government unconstitutional

The voting age of eighteen was set by

the Constitution

According to Federalist #51, it is important to guard the society against the oppression of

the Rulers and the Majority

Informal methods of constitutional change include

The use of judicial review by the courts

The power of the Supreme Court to declare actions of the other branches of gov. to be unconstitutional is known as

Judicial review

The right to carry a gun in places like school campuses and churches is

addressed by the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution

International agreements between the president and other nations that do not require the approval of the Senate are known as

Executive Agreements

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